Research & Resources

Mental Health Surveillance Among Children—United States, 2013–2019

Researchers analyzed 2013–2019 data from U.S. federal data systems to assess the mental health of children and adolescents ages 3–17. During this period, the most prevalent disorders diagnosed among U.S. children and adolescents ages 3–17 were attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder and anxiety, each affecting approximately 1 in 11 (9.4 percent–9.8 percent) children. Among children and adolescents ages 12–17, one-fifth (20.9 percent) had ever experienced a major depressive episode. Among high school students in 2019, 36.7 percent reported persistently feeling sad or hopeless in the past year, and 18.8 percent had seriously considered attempting suicide. Approximately 7 in 100,000 children and adolescents ages 10–19 died by suicide in 2018 and 2019. Among children and adolescents ages 3–17, 9.6 percent–10.1 percent had received mental health services, and 7.8 percent of the same age group had taken medication for mental health disorders during the past year, based on parental reports. Approximately one in four children and adolescents ages 12–17 reported having received mental health services during the past year. These data confirm that mental disorders among children continue to be a substantial public health concern. Researchers advised that these findings be used by public health professionals, health care providers, state health officials, policymakers, and educators to understand the prevalence of specific mental disorders and other indicators of mental health and the challenges related to mental health surveillance.

This paper, “Mental health surveillance among children—United States, 2013–2019,” was funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and published in the journal MMWR Supplements.

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